Dan Burnett has delivered yet again a heartfelt album as he explores the travails and frustrations of life; Mental Health, Broken relationships, Working and Politics. This follow up to his EP; Small World Dan is as it says on the cover flying solo with his keyboard. He is opening himself up as the lyrics and his vocals now are the heart and soul of the album, but will the ten tracks deliver the depth of storytelling that keeps the listener engaged and connected with the thoughts of the singer/songwriter. I will let you know at the end of the review when we have taken the journey through the songs.
Opening with Good For the Wallet & Bad for the Soul a power piano driven melody with a narrative that captures a moment in time in a song. The lyrics are a narrative of abuse and intolerance as time drags and you feel worthless as you may have been paid put your artistic soul is left battered and bruised. The song flows with the keys acting as the perfect foil to the hard-hitting words that gives an outside a birdseye view of a musician trying to pay his bills. The piano refrain is deep and has a kick in its step as we are exploring Come & Get It, like many artist they dig back into their catalogue of songs when creating the feel of an album. This time we go back a decade, a favourite when playing with the band it works perfectly stripped down to voice and piano. We have all been in that conversation where it is like cracking a code have we understood what is being said or are we up a creek without a paddle with this relationship/friendship. Personal and the song connects with so many of our experience through life. Another track from the catalogue, Whoever She Turns Out To Be explores relationships and when/will they happen. The tempo changes with a boogie-woogie Fats Domino feel. We almost are taken up to Blueberry Hill but the journey is to a different place. The piano playing is crisp and flows with a beat that is infectious and the lyrics have a narrative that makes you shudder as you recall the times friends and family say there’s more fish in the sea… just what you don’t want to hear is cold comfort platitudes! The piano captures this with a gritty edge to the boogie tempo that dampens down the energy perfectly to match the tone and shape of the song.
Now for something completely different, the guitar playing on the instrumental introduction on Lost reflects the title perfectly the flow of the melody is of a sound lost in time and space captured in memories and thoughts, It paints a melancholic picture tinged with whispers of hope. The combination of acoustic, rhythm and electric guitar creates a melody full of the complexities of a mind whirling and twirling as we are lost in the complexities of life. The instrumental is two-minutes of cathartic soul-cleansing in its beautiful melody. This segues perfectly into the tonal pitch of Man About Town. Here with Dan we explore a darker side of humanity the person, who manipulates for personal gain. Dan spits out the hard-hitting descriptive words about the Man About Town who you do not want to mess with your head. It is the first time I think that I have heard the phrase that perfectly suits this narrative a storytelling nihilist! The reality is you do not need to go into town to speak to a man or woman about town with their weasel cheating falsehoods they phone you in your home on a daily basis.
The piano picks up the mood with stylish Boogie Woogie playing as we hear about the Wrong Man For The Gig. No, we are not back to the trials of touring musicians this is a political gig as his 12-bar blues format with the opening including The Star-Spangled Banner on what is simply The Trump Song capturing the attitude needed as he picks apart his approach to being President. This is a song so relevant for now both sides of the Atlantic! With our own mini Trump in residence at Number 10! How do you follow that! With stripped-down darker Piano tones on Time Has Come. A relationship falls apart the drama is captured in the melody, you know that it is a huge pretence to keep the relationship going however painful that decision is to pack your things and go. A stripped-down song with all the skills of a crooner captures the pain and emotion close and personal. As you listen you feel a connection and it is a song you think you already know, and when you listen closely it is redolent of the style and texture of Stevie Wonders capture of emotions through voice and piano.
Switching from Piano to guitar Gone In A Flash changes the texture of the album, ensuring your listening ear stays connected. This is a song has a positive message remember that life is short, it is a call to action go do what you want to do make the decisions that are right for you. For a song that is under two minutes backs a lyrical punch. So when you finish listening to the album, take action and make that plan or dream a reality as you only have one Life and it is gone in a flash!.
Songs have a life and Before You Go is one of those working in band and solo format. The tone is nostalgic and Dan’s voice is full of yearning as he reflects back in time. Relationships are complicated and why they go wrong despite the best of intentions is one of the unanswered questions that are the fuel for the singer/songwriter’s pens as we have all experienced this and have an inner understanding. The last track on the album is upbeat as he sings Miss You Letter. There is a lightness in the vocals and the instrumentation. A perfect closing for an album full of emotional reflection as the skills of a Singer Songwriter pulls the inner turmoil of life together in a few words and some memorable phrases.
The album captures the essence of Dan Burnett as he is Flying Solo with songs from a turbulent decade. His life has many ups and downs, all impacting on his health but on the plus side gives him some wonderful material to explore and fuel is songwriting pen. The Guitar and piano playing is top-notch on every track. I said I would let you know at the end of the review if the ten tracks will deliver the depth of storytelling that keeps the listener engaged and connected with the thoughts of the singer/songwriter. In one word Yes it does. And on each re-listen, you will hear something new that catches your ear.
NINEdoodle paws out of TEN …
- Good For Your Wallet & Bad For Your Soul
- Come and Get It
- She Turns Out To Be
- Man About Town
- Wrong Man For The Gig
- Time Has Come
- Gone In A Flash
- Before You Go
- Miss You Letter
To buy a copy of Flying Solo for £11.25 inc p&p follow the link – PayPal.me/danburnettmusic